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India Calls Off Foreign Secretary Level Talks With Pakistan – A Befitting Reply To The Peace Violator?

India Calls Off Foreign Secretary Level Talks With Pakistan – A Befitting Reply To The Peace Violator?

Modi-govt gets tough on PakistanIndia has finally sent a blunt message to Pakistan that it was interfering in India’s internal affairs by holding talks with Kashmiri separatists which was unacceptable. Indian govt clearly conveyed that it’s either “us” or the “separatists”. The Modi government had to act tough by calling off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan that was scheduled on 25th August.

Despite being told by the Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh that Pakistan had to choose either Indo-Pak talk or hobnobbing with the separatists, its top envoys in New Delhi went ahead with the meeting. Hence, under the present circumstances, no useful purpose shall be served by the Indian Foreign Secretary going to Islamabad next week.

India cancelled the talks and raised strong objections to the consultations held with the separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

After meeting Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in India, the senior separatist leader Shabir Shah had told media in New Delhi that he hoped that India accepts that Kashmir is a disputed region and therefore the talks need to be trilateral (India-Pakistan-Separatists) rather than being bilateral which were not effective enough till date.

Before the Indo-Pak talks in Islamabad, Abdul Basit invited Kashmiri separatist leaders for consultations, which is not acceptable by India. Additionally, Pakistan also resorted to firing on the 20 Border Security Force throughout Sunday night. In the past too, Pakistan envoys have had talks with the separatists from Kashmir before any major diplomatic initiative in India.

The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson for India, Syed Akbaruddin said “Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with the ‘so-called’ separatist leaders undermines the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his very first day in office; the invitation to the so-called Hurriyat leaders by the Pakistani High Commissioner so-called raises doubts about Pakistan’s sincerity.”

PM Modi invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in his swearing-in ceremony in May this year, which surprised many. However the euphoria soon disappeared due to Pakistani’s continuous ceasefire violations both along the International Border and the Line of Control.

Pakistan described this “call off” decision as a “setback” to its efforts to promote good neighbourly relations with India. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said “The Indian decision is a setback to the efforts by our leadership to promote good neighbourly relations with India”. Pakistan says that the invitation of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend his inaugural ceremony was accepted in the vision of peace and development between the two nations.

Congress attacked the Modi government reminding them that there are no “short cuts” to diplomatic processes, as India called off the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said “Why did the government rush into holding talks with Pakistan? This shows that the government has no clear diplomatic policy for Pakistan.”

Another Congress leader, Amarinder Singh, says that while it was a diplomatic indiscretion on part of Pakistan, the govt of India also seemed not to have done its homework properly before deciding to hold such high level talks. He added that while peace between the two countries is the paramount need of the hour, the Indian govt must also ensure that their peaceful posture is not to be taken as weakness (like we see continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan).

However, according to the media reports, Pakistan High Commissioner was told in no uncertain terms that Islamabad should either engage with the separatist’s leaders or with New Delhi; and if the envoy goes ahead with his meet it would have its consequences.

There were some quick tweets as a political reaction to the India’s decision.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted:

Shivraj Singh Chouhan's reaction to India's decision of calling off Indo-pak talks

Anurag Thakur tweeted:

Anurag Thakur's reaction to India's decision of calling off Indo-pak talks

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